ObVi-SLAM: Long-Term Object-Visual SLAM

IEEE ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION LETTERS(2024)

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Abstract
Robots responsible for tasks over long time scales must be able to localize consistently and scalably amid geometric, viewpoint, and appearance changes. Existing visual SLAM approaches rely on low-level feature descriptors that are not robust to such environmental changes and result in large map sizes that scale poorly over long-term deployments. In contrast, object detections are robust to environmental variations and lead to more compact representations, but most object-based SLAM systems target short-term indoor deployments with close objects. In this letter, we introduce ObVi-SLAM to overcome these challenges by leveraging the best of both approaches. ObVi-SLAM uses low-level visual features for high-quality short-term visual odometry; and to ensure global, long-term consistency, ObVi-SLAM builds an uncertainty-aware long-term map of persistent objects and updates it after every deployment. By evaluating ObVi-SLAM on data from 16 deployment sessions spanning different weather and lighting conditions, we empirically show that ObVi-SLAM generates accurate localization estimates consistent over long time scales in spite of varying appearance conditions.
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Key words
Simultaneous localization and mapping,Visualization,Feature extraction,Trajectory,Optimization,Robots,Ellipsoids,SLAM,localization,semantic scene understanding
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